Lineup Optimization

I know we had a fanpost about two months ago about what our lineup would probably look like, but Sky Kalkman has a hub for what each team's lineup should look like, and we haven't joined in yet.

I'll explain the ideals for each slot the first time through when we talk about the lineup vs. righties, and then I'll just talk about the players the second time for lefties.

Leadoff: OBP is king, except if he has a ton of power since that can be better placed elsewhere in the lineup. If Overbay hasn't regained his 2004-2006 form then he's the right choice here against righties. If he has he's more valuable lower down, in which case you probably put Scutaro here because he didn't have really significant platoon splits in 2008.

Cleanup: The second most important spot in the lineup. OBP and SLG are both important. If you take the projections at face value, then Rios is the best choice here even without assuming he'll put together the power seasons he had going in 2006 (pre-staph), 2007 (pre-derby), and 2008 (post-Cito). If Rolen's power is back then he should also go here so you can move Rios to a slot where his speed is more relevant. If Wells' rate stats from 2008 hold up over the whole season he's next in line. If you assume all these guys' reverse platoon splits in 2008 were ephemeral then you can put Overbay here if his power is back.

Two Hole: The two hole gets the same situations as the three hole more often, and thus should be better. He certainly shouldn't be bunting. If Overbay's power is back, then put Rolen here. If not then I'd put Wells here. This is a tough call because Wells' splits have been so weird lately--his platoon splits for OBP got a lot closer in 2008 over 2007 and his SLG was actually better against righties than lefties in 2008. If 2007 repeats then you probably have to shift people around, but that almost certainly ends up with Wells hitting very low in the lineup against righties.

Three and Five: The three and five hitters should be similar, with the five hitter better unless he derives a significant portion of his value from power. I'm putting Rios fifth because base stealing is more powerful lower in the lineup. For the third spot I'm putting Lind if Overbay's power isn't back, since it separates the lefties with a hitter who can punish lefties if the opposing team tries to go to a LOOGY. If Overbay's power is back then I put Wells here.

Six through Nine: Descending order of talent, with base thieves near the top to be driven in by singles hitters near the bottom, and possible considerations for handedness. Barajas is clearly number 9. If Overbay is hitting well then he's 4th, so put Lind 6th and Snider 8th to spread them out. That leaves Hill hitting 7th. If Overbay's power is still gone, then I put Snider 6th, Hill 7th, and Scutaro 8th.

Optimistic about Overbay:

  1. Scutaro
  2. Rolen
  3. Wells
  4. Overbay
  5. Rios
  6. Lind
  7. Hill
  8. Snider
  9. Barajas

Pessimistic about Overbay:

  1. Overbay
  2. Rolen/Wells
  3. Lind
  4. Wells/Rolen
  5. Rios
  6. Snider
  7. Hill
  8. Scutaro
  9. Barajas

(Rolen bats 4th if his power recovers, 2nd if not.)

Vs. Lefties:

Hill had large platoon splits in 2007 and 2008, so I'll put him leading off. Wells had great OBP and pretty good SLG against lefties, so he'll bat cleanup. I'll put Rolen second because he had forward OBP splits and reverse SLG splits against lefties, and he's still a good choice if they straighten out. I'm tempted to stick with Lind batting third--small sample size acknowledged, his platoon splits weren't as big as, say, David Ortiz's in 2008, and if you don't put a lefty near the top of the lineup then you end up with Barajas batting 8th to avoid clumping, and nobody really wants that. Rios is back batting 5th for the same reasons as above. Barajas is back at 9th again, which leaves Snider, Scutaro, and Overbay. I'd put them in that order if you're using the pessimistic lineup and the reverse if you're using the optimistic lineup, so that Snider bats in the same spot in the lineup, and because the rising tide might lift the sinking ship of Overbay's numbers against lefties.

  1. Hill
  2. Rolen
  3. Lind
  4. Wells
  5. Rios
  6. Snider/Overbay
  7. Scutaro
  8. Overbay/Snider
  9. Barajas

(Overbay bats 8th if using the pessimistic lineup against righties, 6th if using the optimistic lineup.)

Editor's Note: This is a FanPost written by a reader and member of Bluebird Banter. It was not commissioned by the editors and is not necessarily reflective of the opinions of Bluebird Banter or SB Nation.